Scooter Permit

 

Shared Electric Scooter Permitting in Howard County

CB3-2020, the enabling legislation permitting a publicly accessible electric scooter sharing system for short-term electric scooter trips on certain County rights-of way; requiring certain information in support of an application for a permit; requiring permit fees as part of the permit; and generally related to electric scooters on public rights-of-way in Howard County, was passed by the Howard County Council on March 2, 2020.

The Howard County Office of Transportation is preparing a process for the permitting of shared electric scooter vendors to operate in the public right of way.

What are electric scooters?

The Maryland State Code section 11–117.2a states:

“Electric low speed scooter” means a vehicle that

(1) Is designed to transport only the operator;

(2) Weighs less than 100 pounds;

(3) Has single wheels in tandem or a combination of one or two wheels at the front and rear of the vehicle;

(4) Is equipped with handlebars and a platform designed to be stood on while riding;

(5) Is solely powered by an electric motor and human power; and

(6) Is capable of operating at a speed of up to 20 miles per hour.

 

What are the laws for riding electric scooters?

 

Maryland State Code section 11-104 includes electric low speed scooter in the definition of bicycles, asserting that all the same rules and regulations that apply to bicycles also apply to electric low speed scooters. In Howard County, this means:

  • Electric low speed scooters are legal on public sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes and streets (except expressways and streets with posted speed limits above 50mph) except where otherwise posted as prohibited.
  • When operated on streets, riders of electric low speed scooters are subject to the same traffic control as drivers of motor vehicles.
  • Riders of electric low speed scooters must wear a helmet if they are less than 16 years old.

Howard County permitting process for shared electric scooter vendors

 

The Howard County Office of Transportation is preparing a process for permitting of shared electric scooter vendors to operate in the public right of way, similar to those in effect in Baltimore City, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia.

Vendors will apply for a permit on an annual basis. The draft Terms and Conditions for the permit can be viewed here.

Vendors will be evaluated based on a scoring system that is still under development.

 

A public hearing was held at the April 27, 2020 meeting of the Multimodal Transportation Board to review and discuss the draft permit terms and conditions.       

A summary of the testimony and the response from the Office of Transportation can be viewed here.

Estimated schedule for permits (subject to change)

Permitting Schedule (Tentative, Subject to Change)

 

CB3 approval

 

   March 2

MTB Hearing on permit terms and conditions

 

   April 27

CB3 effective date

(60 days after adoption)

   May 2

Finalize and post scooter permit terms and conditions

(application period opens)

   May 18

Deadline for applications from vendors

 

   June 18

Notice of permit awards

 

   June 23

Start of year 1 operations

 

   July 1

 

 

 

Contacts:

 

Howard County Office of Transportation:

Bruce Gartner, Administrator, 410-313-0702, bgartner@howardcountymd.gov

Chris Eatough, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, 410-313-0567, ceatough@howardcountymd.gov

Scooter sharing vendors that are approved for operation in Howard County through the permit process will be listed with their contact information here after selection.

Data and Reporting:

Reports on scooter operations will be posted here once they become available.